The Whole Nine Yards

      Comments Off on The Whole Nine Yards

The Whole Nine Yards (2000) is essentially a retread of the crime film genre from a comedic angle, exploring similar ideas and themes as Married To The Mob (1988), Mickey Blue Eyes (1999), and Analyze This (1999). What’s distinct about The Whole Nine Yards is that it draws more explicitly on James M. Cain’s work as well as those film noir productions that are indebted to Cain’s novels. Infidelity, fraud, murder, and suburban depression loom just as large in the dramatic landscape of The Whole Nine Yards as the gangster picture or the hitman drama.

Mitchell Kapner’s screenplay has a lot of potential but Jonathan Lynn’s directorial touch is too light and playful. When The Whole Nine Yards should go dark, it goes goofy and negates any real relevance pertaining to domestic and social anxieties. Matthew Perry plays the fish out of water (a role he made a specialty out of in the nineties) with no real urgency or sense of dread. Perry is more than capable of taking things to a darker place, but is caught playing Chandler Bing on the holiday from hell.

Rosanna Arquette, Michael Clarke Duncan and Bruce Willis are pretty much wasted here playing caricatures while Amanda Peet, who had everything to prove at the time, steals the show. Peet delivers dialogue about killing totally offhand so that it’s almost jarring while at other times she brings a demented zeal to detailed discussions about guns and assassinations. It’s a small but totally unhinged performance which outshines almost everything her co-stars are doing.

If one were to look up “mediocre” in the dictionary there could easily be a picture of the poster for The Whole Nine Yards next to it. I’m not even sure to whom I could recommend this film since anyone I might recommend it to has probably already seen it. The Whole Nine Yards is an artifact from the Friends decade and it’s likely that one had to have been there to enjoy it at the time.